Imagine if Devin Booker was happy today, after a home loss to the lowly Memphis Grizzlies. That would say more about his character than lashing out, asking for help, or even asking for a trade. This is the age of instant gratification, baby. You hungry? You're two clicks away from calories with Postmates. Want approval? With the right angle on that instagram pic, you'll get 100 "likes". Need to belong? Tweet out something with the words, "Guy Fieri". You will get retweets, I promise. Need championships? Call your agent, leak your grievances, deny when asked publicly, and privately ask for a trade. Devin Booker hasn't gone that far yet, but the cracks in his early-season optimism are starting to show.
Gina Mizell reported in The Athletic this morning that Devin Booker, commenting on Monty Williams' frustration over the Suns not playing the "right way", said, "...hopefully, we can do that sooner than later. Because I’ve been here four years, and you want to get things going early to make the season a lot better and a lot more fun."
"I've been here four years," has more of a prisoner's tone than an NBA basketball player's. It sounds like Booker telling Monty Williams, "Dude, you're frustrated after half a season? Try doing this for 305 games."
The thing is, if Devin Booker was satisfied with the Suns today, after three consecutive years of finishing dead last in the Western conference, it would be more concerning than the little nods of frustration he's starting to show.
Think about this. If this franchise is going to make a significant move at the trade deadline, will it be because Robert Sarver and James Jones cook something up? You think Sarver is eager to bring on another max contract, like, say, that of Karl-Anthony Towns, which would in turn mean one more star to appease? That's high maintenance. Sarver seems to like more of a mom-and-pop approach. You think James Jones, one year in, has the clout to slam his fist on the table and say, "We need to make a big time move," in front of this ownership? Of course not. There's only one power broker with the sway to make something like that happen. Devin Booker. If the Suns lose him, they risk losing any fan interest they have left. A little unhappiness could go a long way.
And what's funny to me is that Suns fans live in complete denial.
That's a nice sentiment, but put yourself in Booker's shoes. In the last seven days, the Suns have been humiliated by the Lakers, barely squeaked by the Knicks, lost at home to the Grizzlies, and Devin Booker saw his name etched below Alex Caruso's in the Western Conference fan All-Star vote. The idea that any NBA star would be OK with that is antithetical to what the NBA's shown us for the last decade. Egos are at an all time high, stars are less patient than ever and FOMO runs rampant.
Booker's "I've been here four years" comment sounds more prisoner than NBA star. After four and a half years of losing and volatility, I'd be concerned if it didn't.